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How to Win the Online Fight Between College and Facebook

December 5, 2011

We’ve all been there. You sit down to write a paper, then decide to check your Facebook profile. An hour later, frustrated, you close your web browser and start writing the paper. Twenty minutes into it, you’re stuck. You trying to think of what to write next, then you realize that your friend might have replied to your witty Facebook status update. Back to Facebook, where another half hour goes by. You’ve spent two hours “writing your paper,” and you only have a paragraph to show for it. Suck!

Concentration is always an important element of collegiate success, but it’s absolutely imperative during finals week. Whether you have papers to write, or tests to study for, it’s quite likely that you’ll find yourself pressed for time over the next couple of weeks. While the causes of distraction seem unlimited, Facebook is easily one of the most common offenders. This is probably even worse if you’re going to an online college, with the temptation to browse always a click away. I imagine students going through Online University or a similar program, probably have a much higher rate of distractions than students who have to physically attend lectures.

College students always seem to find enough time for a quick Facebook check. Next time you’re walking around campus, glance at the laptop screens around you; I guarantee that most have a Facebook tab open on them. A few weeks ago, I decided I had had enough. I was tired of habitually checking Facebook, and I wanted to annihilate the wasted time that Facebook encouraged. But, like most of us, there are several people that I only communicate with through Facebook; friends from high school, out of state relatives, etc. I didn’t know what to do, until I concocted a plan!

Starting in 2010, Facebook added a feature that allows users to “unsubscribe” from certain people’s status updates. Not only is this handy for Facebook friends that post thousands of Farmville updates daily, but I realized it could also be the key to conquering my impulsive Facebook use. After all, how often did I log-on to Facebook with a set goal in mind? Rarely. Most of the time, I scrolled through other people’s status updates and photos, waiting for something to catch my eye. I hatched a plan: I would just unsubscribe from everyones status updates. To do so, I had to do is click on the little arrow by each persons status update, and click “Unsubscribe From (Name)”.

It was a little tedious initially, but not too bad. I have about 400 friends, but several of my friends aren’t very active. I noticed that a select handful of people post a majority of the updates, and after clicking unsubscribe once, it clears every single one of their updates. At first I decided not to unsubscribe from a small handful of people (family, close friends, etc.), but eventually I just ended up unsubscribing from everyone. After all, if they have anything important to tell me, they can text or call. It took a couple of weeks to unsubscribe from everyone on my list, because each time I logged on, I would unsubscribe from 10-20 feeds. When all was said and done, how did my plan work? Like an absolute charm. Now, when I log on to Facebook, I am greeted with the screen below:

That’s it! I still check my Facebook every day or two, to see if anyone has DM’ed me or sent me an interesting event request. But without a never-ending list of updates and photos, the lure of Facebook has been reduced to pretty much nothing. If you are tired of the time that you waste on Facebook, I can’t recommend this method enough. It allows you to still use Facebook as a communication tool, but greatly decreases the distraction factor. Now if I can just write my 8 page English paper, I think I’ll have my finals in the bag.

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